So here’s the story behind the story: I had researched and written my letter for this column. It was all ready to go, copyedited, fact-checked and even given a nod of approval by my editor here, our executive managing editor, Deborah Frank (she’s a tough marker—that’s why I mention the nod), and then…the following e-mail arrived this morning on my BlackBerry on the way to work. I couldn’t resist, as we hear a lot these days about kids not reading magazines or books and the death of print media. Not in these quarters. The enthusiasm of young college kids eager to work here seems to be increasing every single year. They’re not clamoring to work on the digital but on the print version of this magazine. The truly committed editors of the future want to work on a real, honest-to-god magazine that they can feel and touch; like so many of us, they appreciate the luxuriousness of the glossy cover; they like looking at gorgeous photographs and reading smart stories that are carefully paired with equally gorgeous and relevant advertising. Here’s to print media—and thank you, Lee. Your letter is already with our human resources department.
Dear Mr. Story,
I just finished reading your last issue (March/April Style Issue), where you encouraged readers to contact you if they had any comments or suggestions (“Should I Stay or Should I Go?”). My name is Lee Styer, and I am a freshman at the University of Rhode Island, double-majoring in writing and communications. I’m originally from New Jersey, and I’ve been a huge fan of your magazine ever since I was about 12 years old. I’m e-mailing you because I absolutely love writing and I absolutely love traveling, culture, people and music—and it is my dream to one day write for your magazine. I understand that being a part of the magazine’s production is a professional business and entails years of practice and hard work, but I can assure you, I’m working hard now to achieve the right qualifications, because I know I’m a strong writer. I love it, and I can’t imagine doing anything else.
Being a freshman, I’ve enrolled in senior-level writing courses, and I’ve kept travel journals ever since I can remember and adore immersing myself in new environments, meeting new people, observing other cultures and learning other languages. I’m in a travel writing course now that is centered around description, observation, dining experience and human interaction. I plan on minoring in French, as I’ve taken it for five years thus far. In recent years, I’ve ventured to Budapest, Prague, Berlin and Austria. I’ve traveled to St. Barths several times, as my family has vacationed there ever since it had nothing more than a mere dirt runway, and before it became the celebrity-infused island it seems to be turning into (your recent article on St. Barths discussed this very topic; I enjoyed it very much). I’m also traveling to Iceland next Wednesday for about a week and plan to see the Northern Lights and swim in the Blue Lagoon geothermal pools. I’m grateful for these adventures, and I use every moment as a writing opportunity. So please keep the issues coming.
Sincerely, Lee Styer
Every year around this time, Departures starts work in haste on its annual October Special Destination Issue. Last year, we covered the Mediterranean, the iPad version of which was just nominated as a Gold Medal Finalist for Best Lifestyle App by the Society of Publication Designers. It’s one of the most prestigious honors in the business and firmly establishes Departures’ commitment to being at the forefront of digital as well as print publication. This year we’ll focus on Africa, which obviously presents opportunities and challenges. While many travelers see Africa only in light of safari experiences, it’s about so much more. It’s time to think of the continent beyond the cliché—beyond Hemingway’s Kilimanjaro and AIDS relief work and Bono…to a new and exciting Africa, full of possibilities.